CVS is gearing up to make a change to almost all locations; and if you are a CVS customer you may not like it. CVS just announced that customers will no longer be able to do one thing in its stores, starting Feb. 28. CVS will no longer be allowing shoppers to visit its pharmacies during certain times of the day, according to the Washington Examiner, will be adjusting its pharmacy hours to implement a "pre-scheduled, uninterrupted" lunch break for its workers. According to CVS, most of its pharmacies will begin closing from 1:30 to 2 p.m. to provide the time for lunch. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the pandemic coupled with a labor shortage has put many pharmacists under intense strain over the last two years, The New York Times reported just about 2 weeks ago. Disruptions in vaccine appointments, longer lines to pick up prescriptions, and frustration in getting certain pandemic supplies like masks and at-home COVID tests have become the norm for many.
According to a January survey from the American Pharmacists Association, 74 percent of pharmacy workers reported they no longer feel that they have sufficient time to safely perform patient care and clinical duties. A major problem for sure – but I question whether closing the pharmacy for a half hour will fix the issue. Having 30 minutes for lunch may be more stressful than staggering lunch breaks. I am sure that CVS is also trying to exhibit to their employees that they care about their health and well-being. But for many people, especially those who are in caregiver’s situation – that lunch break might just be the only time they can get to CVS. I also think that other retailers from grocery stores to hardware stores to clothing stores will be watching carefully to see if this can help retain staff and improve morale. If it does – look for more lunch breaks.